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600 Nigerians stranded in Saudi Arabia call for help to return

They are suspected to be “irregular migrants in Saudi Arabia”, numbering as much as 600.

A video has gone viral on social media showing some Nigerians stranded in Saudi Arabia—some as long as seven months.

In apparent reaction to the video, chair of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Friday said, “Nigerian irregular migrants in Saudi Arabia are due to be evacuated on the 28th and 29th of January, pending any unforeseen issues.”

She appeared to refer to them as “irregular migrants in Saudi Arabia”, numbering as much as 600.

“Their evacuation was delayed due to issues relating to COVID-19. We appeal to Nigerians to resist travelling abroad without proper documents,” she said.

The evacuation is expected to be carried out in two batches of 400 and 200 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the NIDCOM chief said.

The video shows bodies wrapped in black polythene bags on the floor of a packed room.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Diaspora Commission
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Diaspora Commission

Dabiri-Erewa was tagged in the video posted on Twitter by the handle @KsaApc on Thursday.

According to narrator, some affected persons were not able to renew their residencies in the Muslim country. And instead of the Saudi Arabia immigration authorities relocating them to Nigeria in two weeks, they have been kept them in detention for three to more than seven months.

They are kept in poor conditions and have something that looks like bin bags as a duvet to keep them warm.

The room where they are placed is also overcrowded and they have to sleep close together, with bodies touching.

“We are here more than three months, six months, seven months ago, without any action, no better information on transport to Nigeria,” the narrator in the video said.

“According to the rules and regulations of this location, we are not supposed to be here for more than two weeks.

“Most nationals of other countries have been flown back to their countries. Only we Nigerians don’t have any source or way of getting back.

“I’m here on behalf of others to seek your assistance to get us back to our country.”


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